June 30th, 2008

We ain’t having that!

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Dr Iain Fielden must win the 200weeks Doh! Award for Hindsight this month after appealing against a speeding conviction when his wife was fined £60 & given 3 points for doing 36mph in a 30 limit.

Dr Fielden, who is apparently a university physicist, tried to use his knowledge to beat the conviction by hiring ‘experts’ (for £5,000) to challenge Gatso evidence. He lost the appeal & must now pay out £15,000 costs.

£20,060 down & in a great example of understatement he is quoted as saying, "In hindsight, we wouldn’t do this again."

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  1. ted says:

    Firstly I think they should just have paid the fine and taken the points.

    That said, how fair is it that someone who exercises their right to plead not guilty and make the Crown prove their case should be hit with enormous costs.

    I’ve no idea how this costs thing works in English law. Are muggers who plead not guilty also hit with costs when found guilty or is it only normally law abiding members of the public who get the double whammy of a fine and costs?

    Surely the money and time people like this spend on their defence is enough to stop people like doing it unless they genuinely believe they have a point to argue?

    July 1st, 2008 at 10:56

  2. Bill says:

    The crown costs were at or above £100,000 so £15,000 was a substantial discount.
    He should have got his sums right, which apparently he did before defending it but didn’t want to submit the confirmation of the speed because it wasn’t helpful! Quote “The speed indicated by the lines marked on the road is about 34mph, but because they are on a curve this is prone to lots of error and because it’s not helpful, we’ll just say no more about it.”
    source: http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=18076&view=findpost&p=165581
    If someone from the crown side did that we would be having a different discussion!!

    July 1st, 2008 at 12:01

  3. Lynn says:

    Quite an absurd situation. You mention the fact the he paid out £5000 on his own expert witnesses yet the crown case was to bring in Trevor Hall of RSS which is affiliated to several Speed Camera Partnerships and has no personal knowlege of any testing procedures of the Gatso and there he is supposedly giving unbiased opinion.
    Does the word Mugabe seem familiar?
    The fact is that the court accepted that the manufacturer’s handbook wasn’t followed. Where there exists any doubt it should be given in favour of the appellant.
    What we now have is a situation where it doesn’t matter what ANY manufacturer’s handbook may say, regardless of the equipment in use (perhaps even firearms) as long as the police actually have approval for using the equipment in the first place.
    Just to round this off, the crown brought in the technical director of Gatso who told lies under oath and was caught out. He didn’t know that the Gatso Manual had been obtained and knew that it had always been denied prior to this so made various deliberate untruthful statements before the manual was produced for him to accept recognition of.
    If all the CPS can do is hide behind non disclosure and lies it’s a very poor indictment of the great British Justice System.

    July 1st, 2008 at 12:51

  4. ted says:

    But the Crown choose to prosecute people. Why should people pay the Crown’s cost just because they choose to plead not guilty.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. Costs are not awarded in Scotland in criminal cases.

    People should be able to defend themselves, should they choose to do so, without facing bankruptcy.

    July 1st, 2008 at 13:02

  5. ted says:

    But it is the Crown that chooses to prosecute someone. Why should they then have to pay part of the Crown’s costs because they choose to plead not guilty.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. Costs are not awarded in criminal cases in Scotland.

    Why should someone have to risk bankruptcy because they don’t roll over.

    July 1st, 2008 at 13:06

  6. Bill says:

    The reason why the crown shouldn’t pay is because the evidence against this chap was tested and sound as has been shown. In addition to that he knew quite well he was deliberately trying to be a smart-a#*e and didn’t quite manage it.
    If the crown was to discontinue cases every time someone tried to baffle the solicitors with science, even when they believe they are correct, this chap patently knew he was wrong, it would be a poor show. He didn’t want to loose face by admitting it when his attempts at frustration were met head on.

    July 1st, 2008 at 13:36

  7. ted says:

    I thought evidence was tested in court after a not guilty plea. So in many cases it won’t be known how good the evidence is until after the case. So the fact the evidence against him was proved to be sound should not matter. I would like to think the evidence was thought to be sound in all prosecutions. The only way that can be proved is if someone pleads not guilty and tests it in court.

    Whether this particular guy was trying it on isn’t the issue. It is whether someone who genuinely (if mistakenly) believes they are innocent should not only get fined after being found guilty but have to pay prosecution costs as well.

    Sort of like how in China an executed prisoner’s family gets sent the bill for the bullets.

    July 1st, 2008 at 15:57

  8. tony seaton says:

    rta 1991 s23:
    23. For section 20 of the [1988 c. 53.] Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (admissibility of measurement of speed by radar) there shall be substituted—
    “Speeding offences etc: admissibility of certain evidence.

    20. — (1) Evidence (which in Scotland shall be sufficient evidence) of a fact relevant to proceedings for an offence to which this section applies may be given by the production of—
    (a) a record produced by a prescribed device, and
    (b) (in the same or another document) a certificate as to the circumstances in which the record was produced signed by a constable or by a person authorised by or on behalf of the chief officer of police for the police area in which the offence is alleged to have been committed…..
    (4) A record produced or measurement made by a prescribed device shall not be admissible as evidence of a fact relevant to proceedings for an offence to which this section applies unless—
    (a) the device is of a type approved by the Secretary of State, and
    >>>>>(b) any conditions subject to which the approval was given are satisfied.

    July 1st, 2008 at 16:36

  9. Bill says:

    Section 20 was satisfied including the conditions, he had a lot of measurement knowledge but absolutely no understanding of the practicalities and conditions of the device, in effect not an expert in the subject he thought he was.

    July 2nd, 2008 at 07:28

  10. JSM1978 says:

    As a taxpayer, please explain to me how a bill of £100k can be justified to contest an appeal of a £60 ticket? It seems utterly disproportionate. Why was this done?

    July 4th, 2008 at 18:27

  11. Bill says:

    As a taxpayer it costs £millions to scoop up bodies from the road when a#se-holes think they know better and drive outside of the law.
    He was lucky to get this discount…or should I say his wife was lucky in that respect…shame she married an arrogant star trek fan!

    July 7th, 2008 at 14:55

  12. DisgustedofEpping says:

    After all we are talking serious crinals here, 36 in a 30 on an empty main road, I suppose you think that 42 days would be an appropriate period to detain a speeding suspect without charge.

    July 9th, 2008 at 20:48

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